Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping today welcomed official approval of plans to develop a new multi-agency violence reduction unit to fight serious violence across the county.
The PCC was one of 18 nationally to receive a provisional share of a £35m Home Office grant to establish a specialist team to tackle violent crime and prevent young people from turning to violence.
Nottinghamshire submitted detailed plans for the new £880,000 unit to the Home Office last month and received confirmation this week the model has been approved.
The Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), which will be overseen by the PCC as chair of the VRU Strategic Board, will bring together specialists from the Police, NHS, County and City Council, Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), education, Public Health England and the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS).
It aims to treat violence as a public health issue by responding to the social, economic, and cultural problems which are closely linked to crime and taking a holistic approach to ensure communities are more resilient, healthier and safer.
“I’m delighted the Home Office has endorsed our plans for the new VRU which involved the professional input and experience of a vast range of health and criminal justice experts,” said Mr Tipping.
“With funding secured, we can now press ahead with implementation and pull together the necessary resources to launch Nottinghamshire’s first ever dedicated unit to tackling serious violence.
“A number of organisations have been involved in putting together this successful bid including Public Health and our local authority specialists and I would like to thank them all for their hard work and commitment. I look forward to our continued partnership to help our communities and the people within them to thrive.
“One of the key priorities of the VRU is to steer young people away from crime and violence by providing positive alternatives. Through the new unit, we will continue to utilise the fantastic resources within our communities including our experienced youth mentors and positive role models to create new opportunities for young people.
“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running and making a difference.”
The VRU will work closely with the Police to build on the success of the current Knife Crime Strategy, which already sees partners working together in a pan-agency agreement to support prevention, early intervention, youth engagement and enforcement activity.
Dave Wakelin, Director of Health and Community Wellbeing at Gedling Borough Council, was recently appointed director of the new VRU.
He said: “We welcome the opportunity that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire have been given to embed a new approach to tackling serious violence countywide. We recognise that serious violence isn’t just a policing issue, the VRU will bring together team of experts, including Public Health Consultant and specialists in children’s strategy and youth justice.
“I am particularly excited to welcome Adam Brooks onto the Board as Vice Chair. As a top Nottingham surgeon Adam operates on young victims of knife crime everyday and sees the harm and devastation knife injuries have on victims and their families.”
Adam Brooks is Director of the East Midlands Major Trauma Centre, one of the largest Centres in the UK, based at Queen’s Medical Centre. He added: “I am privileged to have been invited to be vice chair of Nottinghamshire’s VRU through his to support the excellent work that is already underway and to coordinate a whole system approach to reduce violence in our communities. ”
Assistant Chief Constable Kate Meynell, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Additional funding to tackle violence is welcome as it can strengthen the partnership response to the issue. We now must work with our partners and the Government to finalise how the money will be spent.”
The Home Office, which announced the new Serious Violence Fund in April, has worked closely with a range of partners including the National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) in developing policy proposals to support the award of VRU funding.
Nottinghamshire’s £880,000 represents one year of funding which must be applied in the 2019-20 year. The allocation has been calculated to reflect levels of serious violence in the area based on hospital admissions for sharp object assaults.